• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

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trainman111

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I'm located in Richmond, VA and I wanted to know what frequencies I should monitor that have a good amount of traffic. Right now I have the VA ANG freqs in. I had Giant Killer programmed but I didn't get a single hit. How far out can I hear? Is it like commercial and general aviation...or can I hear farther? What should I expect?

Nick
 

ka3jjz

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Nick, you didn't say anything about your setup, but at a minimum (quite apart from the scanner), a good antenna (like a discone) mounted nice and high, with the right coax, is an absolute must. Since you live in a metro area, I'd consider a preamp only after you've gotten the best antenna system together that you can.

How far you can hear will be a factor of your terrain and how high the antenna is mounted, as well as the frequency. There is a formula for this; it can probably be had from a good Net search. 73s Mike
 

trainman111

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Right now I have a PRO-2055 hooked up to a 3 element yagi tuned to 160 Mhz pointed east about 20-25 ft. up. Do you really think getting a preamp would help my situation at all? I think what I need the most help on is trying to find the right frequencies. I know there are many resources but I'm trying to find "the one" that will be most suitable for me, that way I'm not scanning frequencies that are way out of my range...I've had a real problem with that in the past. I miss the comms because its scanning the other 500 frequencies that are supposed to be active. Right now I have the frequencies from www.geocities.com/scanrichmond programmed. I've gotten a couple hits but nothing exciting. Anyone have any suggestions?

Nick
 

Dank

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Nick, I'm not sure what GiantKiller freqs you have programmed. The list of MilAir frerqs from the url you indicated is rather overwhelming in the format its listed without descriptions. Try this link http://www.milaircomms.com/uhf_facsfacva.html.

With these freqs from the VA Capes area and your being in Richmond, you should hear something on these. Good luck. Dan
 

ka3jjz

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A far and away better resource would be the Hampton Roads Scanner Page - select the area - such as Oceana - from the 'Federal Government' list (select that from the pull down on the front page, then select the site from the following page) and you'll find Giant Killer (sometimes also abbreviated 'GK') on the list - and the URL is: http://www.geocities.com/scanseva/index.html

As to the antenna- if it's tuned to 160 mhz, the farther away you get from its designed frequency, the performance will become degraded. It doesn't surprise me that you aren't getting many hits - you need something which is more broadbanded, and can hear aircraft flying at high altitudes - something a Yagi isn't always the best choice to do. A discone such as the Diamond D130J, a ScanTenna, NilJon are just some of the examples. If you're handy with tools, and are comfortable working with copper tubing, then building an offset fed dipole is a good choice. Just remember, the wider the diameter of the tubing, the more broadbanded this antenna tends to become (as I recall from the discussions on the antenna forum some time ago). The offset dipole is being sold commercially by Grove, but there are other choices as well.

The Scanner Antennas wiki, plus the military monitoring equipment wiki, has lots of details on this subject. 73s Mike
 

BMT

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Personnally I think the discone antenna for MILAIR suck's.

BMT
 

ka3jjz

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Why do you say that? It's probably the one staple many milcom folks use. There are some crummy discones out there, it's true, but there are some really good ones, like the D130J which I mentioned earlier. 73s Mike
 

BMT

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I use a scanner beam, 225-400 ground plane and NIL-Jon Multiband. When I got my 225-400 ground plane. The first thing I did was hook a short run of coax and laid on the floor. My first hit was the Tallahassee,Fl. RCAG,not the ground side. As the crow fly's about 200 miles.

I'm calling BS on the excuse I live in apartment. I have a friend who lived in an apartment in Atlanta. He used a mag mount on a piece of metal,placed on his balconey!!! Don't knock it till you have tried it!! Antenna therory is just what it says. It's theory!!

While in the Army I worked HF net's, air to ground secure and unsecure net's, air to air both secure and unsecure nets.Most of the soil in the central highlands of VN was decompoed iron ore. That played holy hell with the best communications equipment.

I relaced my discone with a scanner beam and the difference was like daylight and dark.My 225-400 ground plane made the beam sound funky.

All my antenna's are less the 25 feet up.Cheap antenna and coax will not cut the mustard.
The MILAIR side of the hobby can get expensive.

BMT
 

ka3jjz

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I quite agree that cheap coax won't cut it on the milair side; however, your statement about your Atlanta friend using a mag mount with a sheet metal ground plane on his balcony suggests that antennas need not be expensive to work well. In fact, I know of one or two folks that have built their own offset dipoles out of tubing they had lying around the workshop - so it can be done.
However putting an antenna in an apartment has definite drawbacks in terms of signal loss, depending of course on the construction of the building. That's not theory, that's simple fact. If you can get the antenna outside, even a simple mag mount will perform well, as your Atlanta friend has proven, and probably better than if it were inside his apartment.

73s Mike
 

trainman111

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I'm sure getting a new antenna would help quite a bit, but before I moved from New York (on the Vermont/Canadian border) I had my fair share of Mil Air traffic with the same equipment I have now. Now that I'm in VA, I don't get nearly quite as much. I will be trying everyones links and using all the resources that have now become available to me. If anyone has any others that they'd like to share, I'd be more than happy to try them. Once I get the right frequencies then I will start looking at antennas.

Nick
 

ka3jjz

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Yeah, a tuned 160 mhz Yagi isn't going to perform too well at 138-144 mhz (too short) or 225-380 mhz - it's just too far afield from its designed frequency, particularly if there are any loading coils involved. Do your research and ask questions - that's the most inexpensive way of learning about the pros/cons of the antennas - we have a forum devoted to the topic, as well as a wiki page devoted just to Scanner antennas.

As to freqs - that Hampton Roads page should be right up your alley, so to speak. Just trying to pick freqs out of a list (like that found on that Scan Richmond site) doesn't help when you don't have a clue as to which are really active and which are not. Also keep an eye on the Milcom list on QTH.net, and touch base with the local clubs mentioned on the CHM Virginia page. All of these are likely to be best bets in getting accurate, and active, frequency information. 73s Mike
 

trainman111

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Nope there's no coil on the antenna. Suprisingly it does a pretty good job in the air band. I was very impressed. The Hampton Roads Page was an excellent resource. I've found most all the freqencies that I would like. Now its time to program!

Nick
 

gcgrotz

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I'm not sure that being near 100 miles from the beach area you will pick up too much. The planes would have to be up fairly high to hear at that distance and you surely won't hear the ground station even if you had a 200ft tower.

Try listening for civil air stuff in and out of ORF on VHF and see what you hear and what altitudes. Any thing similar on UHF will be a little harder to hear. Look up Norfolk approach/departure freqs. Try to find the Wash Center freqs for that area. 132.550 Cape Charles and 132.025 Franklin and 127.425 Yorktown might be good to try. If you can hear aircraft on those freqs there may be some hope for facsfac if you have a good UHF antenna.
 

trainman111

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I get a lot of traffic on 132.55. That's one of my more active ZDC frequencies. I will try putting in the ORF App/Dep frequencies and see what I can get.

Nick
 

TinEar

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That 132.55 freq is ZDC-Cape Charles sector so give the UHF side of that pair a try for MilAir on 256.8. You should hear military traffic passing through the area and the Langley birds when they go out to Giant Killer's W-386 area among others. None of the UHF Center freqs are extremely busy but what you do hear gives a pretty good idea of their location.
 

gcgrotz

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I can hear planes on approach to Dulles down to about 4000ft from here in Ch'ville. I can hear the Coatt4 arrival and 124.65 which I believe covers Manassas and Spottsylvania approach. I'm curious now what you will be able to hear from Richmond.
 

trainman111

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I think I've only heard Mil Air comms on UHF a couple times. Right now I'm in the process of programming Giant Killer, Huntress, Oceana NAS, Langley, AFB, Norfolk NS, and VA ANG frequencies into my Pro-2055. I've had the VHF and UHF zdc artcc frequencies in for a while. I was told that I'm might be able to hear Pope and Shaw AFB's but would that be stretching it? I might be able to get Pope AFB but I don't know about Shaw. Also, do you think I could get Andrews AFB? That would be interesting to listen to.

Nick
 

ka3jjz

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Maybe stretching it a little - certainly hearing flights going to or coming from Pope, Shaw and Andrews - that's quite likely. But hearing the bases themselves....might be a stretch, particularly using an antenna not tuned for that band. 'Nuff said.

73s Mike
 

trainman111

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I hate to ask another question but...what frequencies do the pilots of the aircraft use when they are a ways out and they need to talk to the bases? Are they the FASFAC and NORAD frequencies, or are there other frequencies? I gues what I'm saying is, what are the frequencies labeled? I don't need the frequencies themselves.

Nick
 
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